“Guilty till proved innocent”

Shiban Khaibri
British “Royalty” and the special privileges ceased to exist theoretically in India after their departure in 1947 but in practice , it rebounded in an entirely different manner from the political class , though not similar in appearance and practice, not the same as ”believed” to be and what was seen , heard and discussed in hush- hush manner by the countrymen but progressively got accentuated in a different way . Besides living in luxurious bungalows and in spacious ambiances ,instances of corruption, scams, kickbacks, extortions, nepotism , promoting family rule and other ”indulgences” etc have been the ways of ”service to the countrymen” from many politicians. Simplicity, honesty, sincerity and real service to the people all started getting diluted compared to what was sought , thought of , dreamt and sacrificed for during the independence movement of this country. Thousands of our young people who even had not bothered to ”taste ”anything in life , anything related to materialistic pursuits except emancipated Bharat, ”repaired” Bharat, free Bharat, strong Bharat , corruption and loot free Bharat where people no longer would be exploited and taken for a ride repeatedly by the “Desi” rulers and for achieving all these ambitions, they sacrificed their lives. They kissed the hangmen’s noose as the cost of attaining freedom. Khudi Ram Bose gave his life for the country when he was only 18 years un-blossomed flower , earning the distinction of the youngest martyr of the independence movement. Prafull Kumar Chaki , another revolutionary just at 19 years age sacrificed his life . The travesty is that his grandniece was found last year living pitiably in a roadside shanty made of tin and plastic sheets. This happened in a state where ”Maa, Mati, Manush” or “Mother, Motherland and People” the political, social and economic vision lolly -popped to the people in 2009, 2011 and 2016 elections could not take note of the plight of the old lady related to a great freedom movement revolutionary all these years of Didi’s rule. How can it be ruled out that hundreds of such cases of utter neglect and ungratefulness to the spirit of those revolutionaries who attained martyrdom for the motherland, would not be there in numerous places across the country? Otherwise also , young women revolutionaries like Pritilata Waddedar , Leela Nag and numerous others are forgotten in their own hometowns .
Merely symbolically “remembering” a few freedom movement heroes once in a year for formality sake who gave everything they had for this country ,amidst environment of spates of scams, corruption, criminalising politics and politicising crime , public loot, lies and deceptions, promoting political violence, avoidable and politically motivated agitations for months together, resisting economic reforms, blocking railway tracks and calls for Chakka jam etc look astonishing and stupefying in this country where question arises as to whether we can afford all such “luxuries” under the cover of democracy . Most of the political class which ruled this country in different states and at the centre all these years after gaining independence especially right from 1984 onwards, has forgotten the sacrifices of our revolutionaries and the cause and the purpose of laying down their precious lives. Why Gandhi Ji had desired the main political party then active in the country, to call it a day after independence and indulge in the service of the people only and not go in for ruling the country , a claim which is now even hotly contested ?
The above prelude is just to weigh in comparison where our country is tried to be taken by few opportunist and incompetent politicians and how probing corruption , tax evasion, amassing assets and wealth disproportionate to known sources of income is given the twist of using government agencies for ”witch- hunting” of political opponents. In other words, catching the corrupt with the hands of the law of the land is now considered as political vendetta and witch -hunting. The other term frequently used in a stereotype manner is “Janch hone deejiye” or let the probe be there and till probe is “there” , the accused would remain at the same position, in the same office and in control of or privy to all necessary documents, files, papers etc which are required for this “janch” or probe. What type of probe shall it be ? Agreed, Enquiring and probing alone will lead to what had transpired, who conspired, what was the modus operandi and at the top of it, who was the beneficiary but are not there certain important and cardinal pre-requisites to be fulfilled that of removing the person accused or even suspected of being directly or indirectly involved, from the scene ? Instead, when there is a cocktail of ”events” and not only one single crime of alleged extortion, the matter assumes sensitivity of the nature as well as the repercussions of the ”cocktail” attributed to political direction and even being “within their knowledge”?
The lust to grab the power, nay – just only to keep the “divisive” BJP out of power and thus “save” the country but throwing to winds all cherished and nursed principles and ideologies, giving the political hotchpotch noble names but the ingredients of the hotchpotch grinding their own axes thinking never to get such a chance again, often leads to a sort of peculiar paranoid where state extortion or extortion purported to be carried out by the state administrative apparatus needs not only to be unmasked as early as possible but enough courage mustered by the self centred and self proclaimed protectors of democracy and democratic institutions to openly raise voice to have such a system overhauled, if not dismissed. But, why so much of silence? Why selective attacks and bouts of criticism keeping in view which Pradesh and ruled by which “Aghadi” and which Party just in the same way, where to have fully organised political tourism and where not – despite the same levels and intensity of the crime perpetrated against the victims.
Hypothetically speaking , imagine a situation where a person no less than the super Police Cop of the state and serving, complaining and in writing, about how his political boss allegedly had directed to “collect” so much of money on monthly basis from so many business enterprises and not only mailing the letter to all concerned but knocking at the doors of the court as well- would have all happened in a BJP or any of its allies’ ruled state , hell would have broken loose , agitations would have been launched, all political leaders in the opposition would have been meeting not only the concerned state Governor but even the President of the Republic demanding immediate resignation not only of the accused Minister but dismissing the entire government. What a double standard , Chief architect of the Aghadi first saying the Minister was in the Hospital during the ”crucial days” (5to 15 Feb.) and thus defending him instead of asking him to step down to come clean after the probe was over while the Minister concerned is on record having been present in a press meet. Sharad Pawar also , questioned the “timing” of the ex-CP’s letter but not the startling contents. However, he on March 21 was prompted to saying that allegations against the Minister were serious but he added, “It is the prerogative of the CM to take appropriate action into the allegations” . He wanted an enquiry but by ”an officer who enjoys full respect in police administration.”
However, the convention but not always the practice that “one was innocent till proved guilty” is being lent full credibility in the instant case in two ways . One- there is no probe , no enquiry and no serious action in the offing in respect of the charges levelled by the ex-Police Top Cop that the Minister had asked a police officer (now arrested ) to collect (read extort) hefty amount a month from city’s bars and restaurants. Two – political victimhood card is played to camouflage the entire “cocktail of events” as Congress sees the only colour in it -that of the “BJP attempting to pull down non-BJP governments in the country.”
There are certain pertinent questions requiring clarifications. Who reinstated Sachin Waze after a long period of 16 years and on whose instructions? Why and how he assumed so much of powers ”unto him” and who allowed him to act in that manner? What is all about the Antilia Bomb theory and what was the motive behind it, who conspired all about it ? Why was Mithi river made ‘Tekhi’ by throwing in it DVRs, CPUs, Laptops, vehicle number plates and other material as the NIA in presence of Waze recovered all these items? What for had these equipments been used later to ”erase” the evidence ?Who had planted the explosive laden vehicle outside the Antilia building and how the death of the owner of the said vehicle took place , how and what for had the suspended police officer so many vehicles for his use ? Last but not the least , as even demanded in Samna ,the Sena mouthpiece , who gave “unlimited powers to arrested police official, why was the Home Minister not aware of the money extortion”. The Sena mouthpiece has finally agreed about ”loopholes” being there in the state governance and the alliance had no mechanism for “damage control”. It may be recalled that in the latest edition of the Samana , Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has been termed as “accidental Home Minister” and that “the Home Minister should not be working in the company of suspects”. However, the Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar terms writings in Samna to this effect, as playing “spoilsports” when the “three party government was functioning properly.” To Ajit, the functioning is “properly” .
Whatever the case, the general and accepted belief that every accused was deemed to be innocent till proved guilty should not , never in the least, hold good for politicians as they are a special, privileged , honourable class and enjoying special privileges, concessions, facilities and perks. Therefore, with the special yardstick, it should be in their case as ,”Guilty till proved innocent”. That in other words means Deshmukh resigning at the earliest or being relieved of his ministerial “responsibilities” to have an impartial , fair and speedy probe coming out with full details. If he is proved innocent , he needs to be re-inducted into the state cabinet, if not the law will take its own course. Will it be done , sooner the better?